You cannot be serious: abattoir workers handed skilled visas

As we know, Australia’s entire ‘skilled’ visa system is a sham that is actually delivering the nation low paid and underutilised workers.

The evidence is standing in plain sight in the Department of Home Affairs’ Continuous Survey of Migrants:

As shown above, migrants have significantly worse labour market outcomes than the general population. Specifically:

  • The median annual full-time earnings of migrants was $16,500 (22%) below the general population in 2017;
  • The median annual earnings of migrants was $5,900 (10.2%) below the general population in 2017; and
  • The unemployment rate of surveyed migrants (12.6%) was more than double the general population (5.5%) in 2017.

Even if we focus on the skilled stream only, both median earnings and unemployment are far worse than the general population:

The temporary ‘skilled’ visa system is arguably even worse given the $53,900 Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) has been set well below the median Australian wage of $1,100 per week ($57,200 p.a.), according to the ABS:

As you can see, the TSMIT wage floor has fallen $3,300 (6%) below the median income of all Australians ($57,200), which includes unskilled workers. Thus, the TSMIT has incentivised employers to hire cheap migrants instead of local workers, as well as abrogated the need to provide training.

These are shocking results. The skilled stream accounts for the majority of Australia’s migration program. They are purported to be highly qualified and brought into Australia to overcome purported ‘skills shortages’.

Thus, these ‘skilled’ migrants should be paid well above the general population, which comprises both skilled and unskilled workers, as well as have very low unemployment.

The fact that they are paid so poorly highlights that Australia is actually running a defacto low-skilled, low paid visa system.

The farcical nature of Australia’s purportedly ‘skilled’ visa system was highlighted again last week when dozens of Chinese abattoir workers on temporary ‘skilled’ visas took action against their employer in a bid to secure permanent residency:

The fight came amid a backdrop of rising concern among workers at the Midfield Group facility about their visa status, with many workers worried their visas would soon expire and they would be forced to return to China…

150 Chinese employees walked off the job…

Mr McKenna said the company had been dealing with an unprecedented industrial issue at its abattoir and argued the workers had sought to “leverage” permanent residency in Australia.

“Midfield senior management has been constantly updating all concerned visa holders on a weekly basis,” he said. “However, as of Wednesday, December 9, they have demanded that Midfield Group obtain visas or they will not work”…

The majority of workers involved in the dispute are on 457 and 408 visas, which allow skilled migrants to work in Australia.

When abattoir workers are designated skilled visas, you know Australia’s visa system has been corrupted.

Unconventional Economist
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Comments

  1. Skilled migration program is NOT aimed at current skill shortages, it is aimed at skills that are likely to be required over the next 10 years.

    Apparently the meat works is owned by a lib/nat mate so it is unsurprising that the system has produced results in their interest. I’m sure the people doing the processing knew they were special and accommodated them accordingly.

  2. “When abattoir workers are designated skilled visas, you know Australia’s visa system has been corrupted.”
    Hey, NZ is an island nation surrounded by water, with a 200 mile water economic zone, and with an indigenous population that owns half the NZ fishing quotas based on historical fishing rights, and still, apparently, employers cannot find a single NZer who knows how to fish. Necessitating the import of over 500 Russian sailers in the middle of a Covid lockdown. And you think Australia has a problem?

  3. Jumping jack flash

    “The median annual full-time earnings of migrants was $16,500 (22%) below the general population in 2017;
    The median annual earnings of migrants was $5,900 (10.2%) below the general population in 2017; and
    The unemployment rate of surveyed migrants (12.6%) was more than double the general population (5.5%) in 2017.”

    How do they expect to be able to afford the required amounts of debt on those kinds of wages? There is just no way.
    Fortunately many of these people don’t want debt, or don’t need it, or don’t seem to mind that they can’t get the debt they need.

    The executives however are people who do need debt, so they pocket the difference and hand it out to the upper echelons of the business.

    The solution is to make debt far easier to get. Everyone who wants debt should be able to get the debt they need. It is absolutely essential. Just try buying a house without using debt, it is virtually impossible.

    If the debt grows at the correct rate and everyone can get as much debt as they ever need (until the point in the near future where they will need some more) then there is no reason why prices can’t rise to the point that will enable wages to rise to the level where these poor downtrodden migrant slaves can be paid the amounts they need to be paid to obtain the amounts of debt that are essential to own.

    All eyes on the debt growth!

  4. Most of the guest workers will leave the abattoir as soon they get temporary residence visa.
    The abattoir should train Australians and pay them properly.
    The net overseas immigration program needs to be slashed to 50,000 a year.

    • Jumping jack flash

      “The net overseas immigration program needs to be slashed to 50,000 a year.”

      Certainly, but this is only possible once the debt starts growing at the correct rate. It should be fairly obvious by March/April whether the debt is growing fast enough after that most recent can-kick in the name of COVID. (but it would have been necessary, eventually, COVID or no.)

      Until the debt starts growing fast enough it is vital that we have a steady stream of slaves to steal wages from because prices cannot rise unless there’s enough debt around to be able to pay the higher prices, and business owners need the additional wages to afford the debt they need and the lifestyles they expect. Wages can only rise after prices do.
      The existing business revenue is already tied up with the last waves of debt so it can’t be used for anything else like paying higher wages, etc.

      • Jumping jack flash – I enjoy your debt mantra posts, but I can’t tell whether you’re serious or having a laugh.
        Anyway, when immigration is slashed to 50,000pa, house prices will tumble and the people will need to borrow far less and so then will have a lot of money to spend because they’re not giving away half their income on a massive and increasingly unsustainable mortgage bill.
        Of course it all depends what you mean by debt… do you mean economic growth via rising house prices are needed so silly people can finance a flash car, boat or overseas holiday every few years, well that has peaked. It’s over, or the system is a joke.

  5. And the poor Aussie ICU doctor in the UK gets bumped off her flight for the 7th time, trying to come home. No skills shortage there. Maybe the Midfield bloke can offer his private jet to go pick her up?

  6. I remember being in the Pilbara when this stuff first became obvious. Probably around 2008 or so. When entire crews of Irish workers who’d never done anything more skilled than digging for potatoes started get hired as skilled labour driving cranes despite never having sat in one before. They’d all be doing bog standard labour work by the end of their first day but they all ended up staying whilst thousands of Australians failed to get a start in the mining boom but were still confronted with mining boom inflation everywhere they went.

  7. I am waiting for Chinese hookers to start demanding similar from their pimps. No Permanent Residency .. no BJ’s or ‘wristies’.

    • Even StevenMEMBER

      On the scale of nuclear physicist to abattoir worker… no, the abattoir worker is not ‘skilled’.

      I would expect any reasonably competent individual could, with supervision, learn how to break down an animal in 3 months. Many ‘skilled’ professions require years to even get your baby-wheels on.